Winter storm cancels U.S. flights; injures airline passenger, crew member

admin   •   December 28, 2018   •   2032

Traffic lights in blizzard in Farjo, North Dakota on December 27, 2018  | REUTERS

A blizzard that has already canceled or delayed thousands of airline flights and injured a passenger and crew member on a commercial jet over the Dallas area could dump nearly a foot more snow in some states, forecasters said on Thursday (December 27).

Parts of the U.S. Midwest and Southeast were being hit with the first wave of heavy snow and rain expected in the central United States through the weekend, according to a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

A passenger and a flight attendant suffered knee and back pain after an American Eagle flight operated by Mesa Airlines hit turbulence over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, American Airlines said in a statement.

Flight 5781, a Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft that departed from San Luis Potosi International Airport in Mexico carrying 75 passengers and 4 crew members, was diverted to Austin, Texas.

The plane landed safely and the injured passenger and crew member were treated and released from a local hospital in Austin, the airline said.

In the Midwest, winter storm and blizzard warnings were in effect for parts of Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, the National Weather Service said.

The storm, which began late on Wednesday, contributed to the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights and delayed another 4,200. Nearly 400 flights to or from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were canceled, with hundreds delayed.

A tornado watch for parts of central and southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas were in effect on Thursday. — Reuters

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Ice park featuring 39 ice sculptures to open in northeast China

admin   •   December 28, 2018

 

Ice sculptures in Songyuan City, Jilin Province, northeast China | Reuters

Winter‘s arrival may send shivers down the spine of people in Westeros, yet in northeast China’s Jilin Province, locals are standing on their tip-toes to expect an ice park covering 30,000 square meters to open on Friday.

The park will present 39 pieces of ice sculpture, with the tallest rising 21 meters above the ground. The giant pieces of artwork are carved into various shapes, such as visitor stands, dragon boats and towers.

Aside from ice sculptures, visitors many also enjoy other ice facilities such as ice slides and ice labyrinths.

Zhang Shengnian, who is in charge of the park’s construction work, says that the park this year has expanded in size compared with previous years.

“This year, the park expanded to twice as big as it was last year. This years’ ice volume also exceeded 15,000 cubic meters,” said Zhang.

This years’ temperature has remained higher than usual, so the making of the raw ice saw a week-long delay. To catch up with the schedule, workers have been working overtime since Dec. 9 to meet the deadline despite the doubled workload.

“The construction work is stressful. There are about 300 ice sculpture artists and ice constructors from Harbin and other workers in total. We would start our work at 06:00 and work more than 12 hours a day,” said Zhang.

The ice park is part of the 17th Chagan Lake Ice Fishing Culture Tourism Festival, which covers three sections: fish watching, snowscape sightseeing and folk custom experience. — Reuters

Hokkaido is warned of the worst blizzard in years to hit the area

admin   •   March 3, 2018

A screenshot from the video of Reuters showing men walking through a snowy weather

At least one person has died as the worst blizzard in years hit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Friday, causing delays in train operations and canceled flights across the region.

A man working for a roadside assistance company and who went into a forest on foot trying to help a car stuck in the snow was later found dead, according to local media.

Over 300 trains in the region were canceled due to the blizzard, leaving many passengers stranded at railway stations.

A total 110 flights scheduled to depart from Hokkaido and Northern Japan were also canceled, according to the local media.

The meteorological agency warned people to avoid going out in what it described as the ‘worst blizzard in years’. — Reuters

Paris fears for homeless as snow coats capital

admin   •   February 8, 2018

Official figures do not exist for how many sleep rough in the French capital each night, though Paris intends to carry out a census on February 15. Parisians are used to seeing people huddled in doorways and sleeping in makeshift shelters on the roadside.

With nighttime temperatures expected to drop as low as -7 degrees Celsius this week, city authorities have rolled out a cold weather response which involves opening up places in municipal buildings and more frequent patrols.

“Obviously this cold snap worries us a great deal because there are lots and lots of people in the street and of course we have to get them into shelters because right now it’s dangerous and there is a risk of dying for all of those people,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

In the Romain Rolland Homeless Shelter on the southern fringes of the capital, there are no more beds.

The center, run by the Samu Social de Paris has space for 99, with roughly half the places given over to emergency admissions every evening via a telephone hotline and the other half to semi-permanent residents.

“When you get out of the car or up from the bench or whatever it’s cold, cold. I was lucky enough to live in a car but for people who are outside, even in a sleeping bag, it’s really not great,” said Patrick, a 72-year-old resident of the homeless shelter.

Those who are given one of the emergency places have to leave the shelter by 11 a.m. the following day.

“It sucks. It’s horrible. The weather is the worst thing. It rains, you want to cry. It’s the hardest, painful thing like sleeping under the rain because it’s not possible and your clothes get wet. You cannot judge someone. You cannot judge a homeless person unless you become homeless. It’s completely different,” said Parham Ghayour, a  28-year-old homeless man originally from Iran.

The city hall said that it has opened up 1,500 overnight places since December and has added more beds in local council buildings and sports halls since Monday when temperatures dipped further.

Shelter manager Pierre Joubert said he appreciated the effort being made by the authorities but that such temporary solutions were not the answer in the long-term, pointing out that many if not more people die unnoticed on the streets in the summer too. — Reuters

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